32 Ga. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 657 (2004)
Comment on the Guyana-Suriname Boundary Distpute

handle is hein.journals/gjicl32 and id is 665 raw text is: BOUNDARY DISPUTES

Honourable Doodnauth Singh*
In February 2004, Guyana, pursuant to Articles 286 and 287 of the United
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (UNCLOS) gave written
notice to Suriname that it has elected to submit the dispute regarding the
delimitation of its maritime boundary with Suriname to arbitration as provided
for in Annex VII of the Convention. The decision to invoke Annex VII came
after repeated efforts to reach a settlement with Suriname proved futile.
The dispute between Guyana and Suriname is a longstanding one, having
existed since the colonial period when the United Kingdom and the Nether-
lands ruled Guyana and Suriname, respectively. Upon attaining their
independence, the two territories inherited this dispute, since the colonial
heads never concluded an agreement delimiting their maritime boundary in the
Corentyne offshore area. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and their
successors, participated in negotiations over a maritime boundary starting in
1931, but these discussions did not yield a treaty.
In 1961, a proposed maritime boundary line bearing 340 east of true north
in the continental shelf was embodied in a British draft treaty. From this time,
and even previous to that year, Guyana had issued oil exploration licences to
several oil companies including: the California Oil Company (British Guiana)
Ltd. in 1958, which was extended until 1965; Guyana Shell Ltd. in 1965,
which was extended to 1975; and several other licences that were granted
between 1972 and 1975 to Oxoco and Major Crude Oil Company. Guyana has
also consistently enforced its fisheries laws and regulations in the aforemen-
tioned Corentyne offshore area since 1958.

* The author is the Attorney General of the Republic of Guyana.

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